A&M-Corpus Christi Awarded National Science Foundation Grant to Advance Minorities in Academia

Published: October 30, 2017

A&M-Corpus Christi Awarded National Science Foundation Grant to Advance Minorities in Academia

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will receive $516,072 over the next five years to develop, implement and study a new model for advancing underrepresented minority doctoral candidates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to careers in academia thanks to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program. The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi grant was awarded as part of a broader system initiative receiving $2.8 million for the Texas A&M University System AGEP Alliance, which includes Texas A&M University-College Station, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Prairie View A&M University.

Dr. Scott King, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Computing Sciences in the College of Science and Engineering at A&M-Corpus Christi will serve as the Principal Investigator (PI) and Island University team lead for the project titled, “Collaborative research: The Texas A&M System AGEP Alliance: A model to advance historically underrepresented minorities in the STEM professoriate.”  Dr. Karen Butler-Purry, Interim Vice President for Research and Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies at Texas A&M University-College Station, will lead the system alliance.

“Studies have shown that a small percentage of graduate students consider a career in academia, and for minorities, it’s an even smaller percentage,” said King. “That is why this alliance, and grant funding, is so important. With this grant, we will look at institutional changes at the Island University that can be made to increase this percentage.”

The Texas A&M University System AGEP Alliance will follow 10 doctoral candidates across all four system universities as they complete their degrees, enter postdoctoral research positions and progress to faculty positions. A major undertaking for the project will be to advance knowledge on models to improve pathways to the professoriate and improve the success of historically underrepresented minority graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty in specific science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines or STEM education research fields.

Dr. Rick Coffin, Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences Chair and Co-PI, and Dr. Ruby Mehrubleoglu, Professor and Program Coordinator in the Department of Engineering and second Co-PI for the Island University team, will also lend their expertise to the project leading two of the ten alliance activities. Coffin will lead an activity titled, “Exposure to international institutions” and Mehrubleoglu will lead an activity titled, “Job planning, preparation, search and networking strategies” for the entire alliance. Through each activity, the team will focus on unique interventions including individualized development plans for participants as they transition from dissertation stage to postdoctoral scholar to faculty, professional development opportunities related to communication, writing, networking and job preparation or transition. Participants will also receive mentors at the institutional and field-specific expert levels and opportunities to experience academic culture and activities at historically black colleges, universities and international institutions.

Leaders from the alliance institutions also include Linda Challoo, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, College of Education and Human Performance at Texas A&M University-Kingsville; and Gloria Regisford, Professor in the Department of Biology, the Marvin D. and June Samuel Brailsford College of Arts and Sciences at Prairie View A&M University.